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7th Level / IBM
Children / Music
Ages: 3 to 8
Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf"
Peter and the Wolf is a multimedia software program for children ages 3 to 8. The premise revolves around a young boy, Peter, who is being taken to the symphony by his grandfather to hear Prokofiev's famous children's work.
The main area is the concert hall, which children can explore by clicking the mouse on various items. The actual story of Peter and the Wolf if divided into eight parts, and any part can be activated by clicking on the proper character icon.
Actor Tony Randall narrates the story and is an excellent choice for the part. The animation is cartoonish, but the sound quality is superb.
Besides listening to the timeless classic, children can play a matching game, or listen to and experiment with different musical instruments.
Even the youngest child who has had some experience with using a PC will find the program easy to use, and the animated characters give clear and simple instructions on how to get around.from Computer Shopper, October 1995
CD-ROM Today, July 1995
"I must admit I had to stifle a yawn as I slid the disc into the caddy and braced myself for yet another CD-ROM version of Russian composer Sergie Prokofiev's Peter & the Wolf. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the superb animation and captivating humor on this disc. Targeted at children aged 3 to 8, this truly charming treatment of the timeless musical fairy tale is an excellent means of introducing children to the instruments of the orchestra.
"Peter & the Wolf is hosted by actor Tony Randall, whose cartoon likeness narrates the tale while sitting in a big easy chair. Randall really hams it up with the story's animated characters; his mock horror at the appearance of the wolf is sure to elicit a few chuckles.
"This program presents the work in a manner that is very different from both the traditional approach, a narrator telling the story with an orchestral accompaniment, and the Disney-esque approach - an unseen narrator speaking while animated characters act out the story. In this case, a contemporary Peter accompanies his grandfather to a concert hall, where a symphony orchestra will perform and an actor will portray his Russian namesake. However, Peter keeps getting caught up with the performance and jumping onto the stage with the performers. Each time he does, his grandfather must brusquely escort him back to his theater seat.
"You can watch the play in sequence, or click a character's icon to jump to a scene involving that character (the wolf, the bird, the duck, and so on - in this telling of the tale, the animal characters don't have names). You can also click on audience members to provoke amusing quips and rebukes. Pester the woman wearing a mink stole and holding a pair of opera glasses, for example, and she might cluck 'Stop that, you insolent child!', or she might ask 'Shouldn't you be in school?' If you're idle for too long, one of the audience members will turn toward you with an admonishment to 'Click on something!'
""Of course, there are several interactive aspects to this implementation of Peter & the Wolf. Click on the orchestra and you'll go backstage, where you can hear the individual sounds of the orchestral instruments and see the characters that represent them. Click on the French horn, for example, and you'll see the wolf's paws playing the French horn keys. Or you can play a matching game in which Peter imagines several objects (e.g., a trumpet, a pie, a harp, and a tree) and you must select the two that belong together. This might be marginally interesting for the very young, but children older than four will quickly become bored with it. A nice option is to play the symphony with Randall's narration all the way through. The quality of the soundtrack is excellent.
"IBM partnered with the fine production team at 7th Level to produce this title. If you've seen 7th Level's award-winning Tuneland, you'll have an idea of the clever humor, quality animation, and imaginative touches that abound here. This is clearly the richest, most entertaining multimedia version of Peter & the Wolf yet."
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